Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. He is on holiday in the north of Scotland and came across this interesting object on the beach.
We had a perfect summer day here today, genuinely warm but not too hot, and with a gentle cooling breeze. We were expecting a visit for coffee from an old friend, Rachel, who had lived in our house until she was ten years old, so there was quite a bit of tidying up done after breakfast. In the event, when she arrived with her husband, Gary, it was such a nice day that we had coffee in the garden, and the house remained unvisited. We weren’t complaining though, as we had the double benefit of very good company for coffee and a garden tour, and a very tidy house to go back into when they left.
Then we got busy in the garden. Mrs Tootlepedal worked hard and I wandered about photographing the results of her hard work. Rachel had admired this ornamental clover.
We had talked about how few insects there were about in general this year, but as the morning warmed up, a number of insects appeared.
The astrantias were particularly popular
I was pleased to find self heal growing freely in the ‘wild lawn’ . . .
. . . and nearby, tropaeolum was bursting out all over.
The roses are loving the weather this year (and the good feeding that Mrs Tootlepedal has been giving them). It is hard to go past them without taking yet another picture.
. . . but there are new flowers too, a clematis . . .
. . .and the first of many calendulas and some loosestrife.
Then there are new flowers just waiting to take the stage . . .
. . . and old flowers taking their final curtain.
This foxglove reflected the warmth of the day.
I like the way that geraniums are growing among the orange hawkweed . . .
. . . and there were lots of other bursts of colour that my camera snapped up as I went past.
Sometimes a flower appears in the garden by some magic process unknown to the gardener. Today we got a real surprise when we saw what we first thought was a ‘butter and cream’ iris, but which turned out to be something else and quite beautiful.
It appears to be an ‘iris x hollandica Apollo’, and how it got into the garden is a mystery. I hope it learns to like it here.
I needed a sit down after a surprise like that, so I went in for lunch . . . and a quick look at the birds who were grateful that the traffic of people in the garden had quietened down at last.
After lunch, I thought that I ought to try out my push bike after a couple of windy electrical outings, so I pumped up my tyres and set off round my familiar Canonbie route. It was a good day for cycling . . .
. . . and the roads were lined with wild flowers (where the over enthusiastic verge mowers hadn’t cut them all down).
There was still a bit of a breeze blowing, and I had to work hard against the wind to get down to the bottom of the bypass. Curious cattle checked on my progress.
I stopped at the top of the last hill before dropping down to the river to appreciate the water dropwort on both sides of the road, and to take a picture with my camera as a contrast to my effort on the phone on a recent ride.
With the wind now behind me, I did the second ten miles back up to Langholm quite a bit more briskly than I had done the first ten miles. I was concentrating so hard on keeping my speed up, that I forgot to stop for any more pictures. It turns out that the e-biking is helping my normal road biking fitness as my legs felt very good today. I am probably pedalling the e-bike at a faster cadence than I use on my road bike, and this can only be a good thing.
Mike Tinker dropped in to have a cup of tea when I got back. He had been watering Mrs Tootlepedal’s plants in the cold frame while we were away, and he had done a good job keeping them healthy.
I thought that I saw a butterfly in the garden while we were talking, and I rushed out, but it had disappeared (if it had been there at all), and only two squabbling blackbirds were to be seen.
When Mike had left, I slightly altered the pitch of my saddle on the road bike, and then I had time for a shower before the regular Zoom with my brother and sisters.
It is the summer solstice, the longest day, tomorrow. It has rather crept up on us this year because it has been so cool for the most part, and it has not felt very summery at all. It is sobering to think that the days are going to get shorter from now on.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, with landing gear in place.